Walking with Weights (Good or Bad?)

My plan this week was to write an article on the benefits of walking with dumbbells (weights) having recently acquired some with the believe that it would help strengthen my upper arm muscles and aid in burning more calories. So I got onto the internet and started researching the topic and lo and behold the experts are divided in their views. One school of thought says it is good while the other says it can cause your more harm than good.

Below are the arguments put forward for and against the use of weights


Using dumbbells while walking offers more health benefits in comparison to walking without them, but this benefit comes with risk.

The maximum recommended weight for dumbbells while walking is 3 lbs. in each hand. Increasing the weight places more stress on the muscles and joints in your upper body. This added stress can lead to injuries.

Two-thirds of the oxygen uptake and calorie-burning benefits of holding dumbbells while walking is attributed to the user swinging his arms more than when walking without them. By simply engaging your upper body while walking, the health benefits increase.

 Holding dumbbells while walking increases the amount of calories you burn by 5 to 15 percent in comparison to walking without them according to information from the American College of Sports Medicine.

Some people hold dumbbells while walking on the treadmill. However, you have other options to intensify your workout when you use cardio machines that do not place your joints and muscles at risk for injury. To increase the amount of calories you burn while walking on the treadmill increase your speed, resistance level or incline instead of carrying dumbbells.

Some fitness enthusiasts use ankle weights to intensify their workout while walking. However, carrying weight in your hands is more beneficial. Holding dumbbells increases your heart rate five to 10 beats per minute, while ankle weights increases your heart rate three to five beats per minute. Holding dumbbells increases your oxygen uptake by 5 to 15 percent, while ankle weights increase your oxygen uptake by 5 to 10 percent. Additionally, wearing ankle weights alters your gait which has the potential to cause injury and musculoskeletal pain.

Wearing a weight vest for walking and other activities is becoming popular with fitness enthusiasts. Dumbbells and weight vests produce comparable results when it comes to burning calories. Walking with a weight vest that is about 20 percent of your body weight increases the amount of calories you burn during your workout by 14 percent, compared to holding dumbbells which burns 5 to 15 percent.

Source: http://www.livestrong.com/article/424948-dumbbells-while-walking


Many people incorporate hand weights into their walking workout under the assumption that it will burn more calories and tone their arms at the same time. The idea is that carrying weights while you swing your arms will create enough resistance to tone the muscles in your arms while your legs are toned through walking.

According to PBS's walking expert Mark Fenton, hand weights will cause your arms to tire out, which in turn will cause your legs to slow down. This could shorten your workout, which will, of course, cause you to burn fewer calories. Hand weights throw off your alignment, which can cause problems all over your body, and could eventually require a chiropractor to realign.

Unfortunately, the swinging action -- and some walkers may swing their arms quite forcefully while carrying weights -- can damage joints and arm muscles, according to MissouriFamilies.org. If you have never had joint problems in the past, walking with weights may cause such problems to develop. In addition, MissouriFamilies.org reports that it can actually raise your blood pressure.

Source: http://www.livestrong.com/article/453259-the-use-of-hand-weights-while-walking/


What do you think?